TOP 30: Kenny Azama

Kenny Azama
Major: Social Ecology
Year: 4th
Age: 22
Hometown: Venice, CA
In one word: Growing

HIS PASSION
A rough past didn’t stop Kenny Azama from trying to realize his full potential. As an ethnic minority in his hometown, he struggled at first, but eventually adjusted. That adjustment didn’t lead to the greatest experiences, but those experiences have helped him to appreciate how precious life really is. He is always looking to improve himself and to be the best and boldest Kenny he can be.

WHERE TO FIND HIM
Kenny has gotten involved in various leadership positions throughout the past 4 years, and he is graduating in less than 2 months.

THE FUTURE
Kenny hopes to find or create a job that allows him to make a difference in people’s lives while traveling the world.

HIS INFLUENCE
A friend describes him as “one of the most hardworking, friendly and passionate individuals on campus. [He] constantly strives to improve himself through hands on experience and his passion for self-improvement and helping the community are what drives him to be so involved. His friendly, and at times silly, demeanor and positive outlook on life make him a person that others are drawn to and quickly befriend.”

KS: Tell us about yourself.

KA: I grew up in Venice, California where weird, exciting, and interesting things happened all the time. Like every other kid in my area I loved to skateboard, go to the beach, explore the Boardwalk, and play sports. Unlike every other kid in my area, I was Asian. Back in my middle school I was one out of just three of the Asian American students…It was tough at first to be such a minority but I adjusted to my environment quickly and I’m not sure if that was a good thing. My peers didn’t care about school, or college, or a good job in the future so neither did I. I got into lots of fights, I’ve been shot at, I’ve been robbed at gunpoint, and I’ve even been arrested. However, having these not so great experiences helped me to appreciate how precious life really was. I turned my life around, my grades around, I started hanging around a different crowd, and fast forward to today I’ve gotten involved in various leadership positions throughout the past 4 years and I’m graduating from a UC in less than 2 months. Weird.

KS: What have you accomplished here on campus, and what do you hope to accomplish?

KA: My proudest accomplishment here at UC Irvine was working with ASUCI and creating the 1st annual sold out “Soulstice”, which is a student run talent show production. For the rest of the year I hope to master the art of living in the moment and not worrying about school or graduation.

KS: Who or what do you feel is the biggest influence on you?

KA: I’d never admit it to them in person but my mom and dad are the most inspirational and influential people in my life. My mom is literally the nicest person in the galaxy and my dad is successful entrepreneur who is always striving to live the most positive life that he possibly can. Also Will Smith, specifically the character he played in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, has been and still is one of the most influential people in my life. From his funky style, to his lingo, to his sense of humor, to his positive outlook on life, to his big heart, Will has always been the guy that I wanted to grow up to be like. He made me believe that a strong personality and street smarts could get you far in life and that is why I function the way I do.

KS: What are you most passionate about?

KA: I have a passion for stuffing my face with food. I’m like a straight up barbarian who hasn’t eaten in days when in reality it’s only been a couple of hours. I shove all of the different types of food on my plate into my mouth, mix it all together, and turn it into a food smoothie and it tastes so delicious. People lose their appetite when they watch how I eat and how much I eat but whatever. My style of eating is creative and time efficient and I am proud of it. Aside from that I also have a passion for learning new hobbies. I’m always on the prowl for the next interesting thing to start practicing and the past year I’ve been learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, magic, Portugese, the Rubics Cube, and how to build websites.

KS: How have you been involved with the Asian Pacific Islander community?

KA: As the Director of Social Affairs my second year for UCI’s Japanese-American club, Tomo No Kai, I was given the unique opportunity to be the Intercollegiate Nikkei Council Representative for UCI. Once a month I had a meeting with the representatives of other Nikkei Student Unions in Southern California and together we planned events and community service projects to strengthen the bond between the Japanese American youth and the Japanese American community in Southern California.

KS: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose, and why?

KA: This is a really tough question…I would either want the ability to retract my hair back into my head at will so I could adjust to the weather, or I would want the ability to sweat horchata so I could lick it off whenever it gets hot, or I would want the ability to turn into an airplane so that I could travel anywhere in the world and my friends could fly with/inside of me.

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  • APIHM

    Asian Pacific-Islander Heritage Month (APIHM) is hosted by the Asian Pacific Student Association at UCI and features various programs, workshops, and events that celebrate the APIA culture and address pertinent issues in the APIA community.

    Please refer to the tabs above for more details regarding each event.

  • Contact Us

    Any inquiries regarding Asian Pacific-Islander Heritage Month can be directed to Programming Coordinators, Siamrath (Sam) Boonsakul and Alison Tominaga, at apsa.programming@gmail.com

    apsauci.com
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    @apsauci

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